Blur are an English rock band, formed in London in 1988. The group consists of singer or keyboardist Damon Albarn, guitarist or singer Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree.
Blur’s debut album Leisure (1991) incorporated the sounds of Madchester and shoegazing. Following a stylistic change influenced by English guitar pop groups such as the Kinks, the Beatles and XTC, Blur released Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995).
The album, including the “Song 2” single, brought Blur mainstream success in the United States. Their next album, 13 (1999) saw the band members experimenting with electronic and gospel music, and featured more personal lyrics from Albarn.
In May 2002, Coxon left Blur during the recording of their seventh album Think Tank (2003). Containing electronic sounds and more minimal guitar work, the album was marked by Albarn’s growing interest in hip hop and African music.
From March to July 1990, Blur toured Britain, opening for the Cramps, and testing out new songs. In October 1990, after their tour was over, Blur released the “She’s So High” single, which reached number 48 in the UK Singles Chart.
The band had trouble creating a follow-up single, but they made progress when paired with producer Stephen Street. The resulting single release, “There’s No Other Way”, became a hit, peaking at number eight.
As a result of the single’s success, Blur became pop stars and was accepted into a clique of bands who frequented the Syndrome club in London dubbed “The Scene That Celebrates Itself”.
NME magazine wrote in 1991, “[Blur] are [the] acceptable pretty face of a whole clump of bands that have emerged since the whole Manchester thing started to run out of steam.”
In 2009 Blur reconvened as a four-piece to play a series of UK shows including two sold out dates at Hyde Park and a historic Sunday night appearance at Glastonbury. A film about Blur No Distance Left to run was made that summer and released the following year.
In 2012 the band received a BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music and wrote two news songs ahead of their massive sold out show in London’s Hyde Park to mark the closing of the Olympic Games.
The songs ‘The Puritan’ and ‘Under the Westway’ were debuted live on Twitter via a worldwide video stream from a London rooftop.
The recordings for the band’s eighth studio album began in spring 2013 at Avon Studios in Kowloon.
Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree spent 5 days jamming together and carried on with their live dates while the recordings were put aside and the group finished touring and returned to their respective lives.
Dave resumed his day job as a lawyer and Alex returned home to his farm in Oxfordshire from where he writes a regular farming column in The Telegraph and hosts the annual food and music festival The Big Feastival with Jamie Oliver.
Graham, who has released eight critically acclaimed solo albums to date, continued to work on his own material and, in 2014, Damon released his Mercury-nominated debut solo album ‘Everyday Robots’.